Second Time’s a Charm
Although the cover of this book reflects otherwise, this title could almost be considered a second edition. I say “almost” because the first incarnation only included Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks, and was titled as such.
It’s not that I didn’t know about North Cascades National Park back then, it’s just that I listened to the nay-sayers who convinced me that the park was totally inaccessible. So I skipped over it on my first go-around. In retrospect that was an enormous error on my part. Granted the North Cascades back country presents some formidable obstacles, even to able-bodied visitors; however upon closer examination I discovered that a portion of the park also boasts several accessible trails, overlooks and scenic drives. And once I discovered this, I just had to go back and correct my previous oversight and make this book a more inclusive resource.
Hence the birth of Barrier-Free Travel; Washington National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers.
But that’s not the only reason that it was time to update this access guide. There have also been some significant changes to the access in Olympic National Park, especially where the Spruce Creek Railroad Trail is concerned. When completed, this trail will effectively triple the length of accessible trail offerings in the park. Even though the upgrade project still has a way to go, this trail is even more accessible than it was when the “first” edition of this book was published. And although I detailed the progress of the trail so far in this volume, future changes will also be included online, on the book update page at www.barrierfreeolympic.com. So remember to check there before you hit the road.
That said, I have to admit that one of the original reasons for writing the previous edition of this book still stands — to give folks accurate access information about the parks, so they can decide what will and what won’t work for them.
I realized a long time ago, that just telling people that something is or isn’t accessible is pretty pointless. After all, we all have different abilities, so what’s accessible for one person may be insurmountable to another. That’s why I’ve always described the access in all of my books and articles. And that’s exactly what I did with everything in this book, including many trails that have simply been described as “accessible with assistance” in other resources.
In the end, this book is about access adequately described — now and in the future — for these three spectacular Washington national parks. And that’s something that’s sorely needed in the resource department. So go ahead and explore these gems, and let me know how they work for you.